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tirsdag 10. oktober 2017

How To Advertise Your Music On Facebook

This post was written by Lisa Occhino and originally appeared on the Bandzoogle Blog. Lisa Occhino is the founder of SongwriterLink, a free songwriting collaboration website that matches you up with exactly the kind of co-writers you’re looking for. She’s also a pianist, award-winning songwriter, and graduate of Berklee College of Music.

Having a Facebook fan page for your music has so many benefits besides displaying your “like” count to the world. Some advantages of fan pages over personal pages are rather obvious — such as separating your personal and professional life, having no fan limit (versus the 5,000 friend cap on personal pages), using Insights to get key metrics about your fans, and getting taken more seriously as an artist overall.

But for any musician who’s trying to get more fans and figure out how to better engage their audience, Facebook Ads Manager is invaluable.

Ads Manager is a powerful tool that allows you to create, manage, and measure Facebook ad campaigns. With some testing and tweaking, advertising your music on Facebook can be one of the most budget-friendly and effective ways to reach both current fans, and get new music fans.

1. Define your goal

You need to have a way of measuring the success of your Facebook ad campaign, so the first step is to set a specific goal. Attach concrete numbers and a deadline to it. The more detailed you make your goal, the better.

For example, if you have tour dates to promote, how many tickets do you want to sell, and by when? If your goal is to build your email list, how many new signups do you want in the next 30 days? If you’re about to release a new single, how many downloads or streams are you hoping for in the first week? What’s the crowdfunding target you need to hit by the end of the month?

Should you run a “like” campaign?
Although Facebook ads can certainly help increase “likes” on your page, we wouldn’t recommend making that your primary goal for a targeted campaign. If those new “likes” are mostly random (or worse, spam accounts) and the people behind them are not actually engaged with your content, it could end up costing you more to reach your real fans.

2. Determine your budget

The great thing about advertising on Facebook is that you can test out your ads first with a small budget and determine what works best before putting more money into them. You can set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget (meaning day-to-day spending will vary slightly, but you won’t exceed the total budget you allocate for the lifetime of the ad set).

Facebook ads work on an auction, so the cost is determined by your targeting and the amount of competition among other advertisers for that audience.

Depending on the goal you’ve set, you can choose to pay for your ads by cost per thousand impressions (CPM) or cost per click (CPC). CPM is a better choice if your goal has to do with spreading awareness and inexpensively reaching as large an audience as possible. CPC is usually a more expensive way to advertise, but the upside is that you only pay when someone actually clicks on the ad, so it can be a smarter option for conversion-oriented goals.

3. Identify your target audience

Another big benefit of advertising music on Facebook is that you can get as specific as you want with your targeting — which means that you’re not wasting your precious dollars on advertising to people who aren’t likely to care about your music.

If you’re new to Facebook ads, you’ll probably need to play around with different targeting options for a bit until you hit on the right combination. In Ads Manager, you’ll be able to see in real time how your estimated reach changes as you make tweaks.

Here’s an overview of all of Facebook’s audience targeting options, but as a musician, you’ll definitely want to explore some of the following:
  • People who already like your Facebook page
  • Friends of people who like your Facebook page
  • People who are interested in bands similar to yours
  • People who live in your city (if you’re trying to build up your local fanbase)
  • People who live in cities where you plan on touring
  • People who have engaged with your Facebook videos
  • People who have visited your website (you’ll need a Facebook pixel to do this)
  • People who have subscribed to your email list
  • Lookalike audiences of any custom audiences you’ve created
Sometimes, even a small change in your targeting can make a big difference in your conversions. Within your campaign, try running different ad sets targeted at different audiences, and compare the results to get a better idea of what’s most effective.

4. Create your ad

You have several options for the format of your ad. Ads that feature a single image, a link, and a call-to-action button (such as “learn more” or “sign up”) are common, and video ads are becoming increasingly popular.

Other options include carousel ads (featuring multiple images or videos that people can click through in a single ad), slideshow ads, and collection ads, all of which you can read more about here.

For musicians, we’d recommend starting out with a simple single-image link ad or a video ad, depending on what your objective is. A link ad would be a great choice if you want to drive traffic to a landing page on your band website or your online merch store, while a video ad would be effective to promote an upcoming show, tour, or new music video.

When you create a new ad in Ads Manager, you’ll be guided through selecting your objective, audience targeting, budget, schedule, and placement (i.e., where it’s going to be displayed). After you finalize those settings, you’ll then be taken to the section where you choose the format, media, and text for your ad.

Once you’ve reviewed all of the details, click the “place order” button. Your campaign will be under review at first, but as long as it meets Facebook’s advertising guidelines, the status will update to “active” shortly thereafter.

Ads vs. boosted posts
If there’s something you’ve already posted on your Facebook page that you simply want to be shown to more people, boosted posts are a quick and easy way to do that. However, keep in mind that options are more limited if you boost a post rather than create an ad.

5. Measure your ad’s performance

The work isn’t over once your campaign is active! While it’s running, you need to track its performance and make any necessary adjustments.

Ads Manager provides all the metrics you need to help you figure out how well your ads are doing. For example, if you’re testing a few different ad images within one campaign, you’ll want to go into your analytics after a few days and see which versions are performing the best for the lowest price. By turning off the versions that aren’t performing as well, your budget will get reallocated to the more successful ads, giving you the most bang for your buck.

While best practices for Facebook advertising remain consistent, the tools are always evolving and improving. So keep testing, keep experimenting, and keep tracking your results!

Read the original article here.

mandag 24. juli 2017

What You Need To Know About Your Music On YouTube

This article was written by Chris Robley for CD Baby's great Blog DIY Musician, and it's about what you need to know about sharing your music on YouTube. The article has a special focus on how CD Baby can help you as an artist, but the ideas and points are valid for all music artists.

How, why, and when you can earn money from your music and videos on YouTube

If you’re distributing your music through CD Baby, we can help you earn money from Youtube in several different ways.

For an artist who hasn’t spent a lot of time learning about YouTube, though, the details can be a bit confusing. In this article I’d like to clarify (and simplify) the distinctions.

But first…

Why would I put my music on YouTube if people can steal it from there or hear it for free?

Well first, regarding piracy on YouTube — (and how can I put this delicately?) — get over it!

No one is stealing your music from YouTube, or not nearly as much as you might fear. Why would they? Who wants to actually keep files on their hard drive anymore when they can access the same content on YouTube almost instantly, anywhere they go, via the wonders of data moving invisibly through air?

Second: if you have concerns about subscription or ad-supported streaming, you definitely don’t HAVE to be on YouTube. CD Baby wants to enable you to do whatever it is YOU want to do with your music career. That could mean only selling vinyl albums to fans who attend your private house concerts. For others, that could mean making tracks available on every digital platform. There’s no right strategy. You should follow the approach that works best for you and your fans.

But having said that, it’s worth repeating the common argument: unless you’re Taylor Swift or Adele or Radiohead, you should be cautious about putting up barriers between you and your potential fans. Adele can window her newest album, or keep it off of streaming platforms altogether, and she’s guaranteed to still get sales… because she’s ADELE; her fans will follow her wherever she leads (though notice that her videos are still on YouTube).

Again, unless you’re sure your fans will jump through a few hoops to get your music, I’d give it some serious thought before you decide to hold your music back from the biggest listening engine in the world.

Can you really make money from YouTube?

The short answer: yes.

The longer answer: It’s like most things in the music industry. You’re not guaranteed success, and it’s always the case that a few people are earning more, and most people are earning less — but YES: there’s real money to be made, and YouTube ad money can be an important part of your increasingly diversified music revenue streams (ticket sales, CD and vinyl, merch, downloads, streaming, sync licensing, publishing royalties, SoundExchange royalties, etc.)

We (CD Baby) have paid out more than $5 million in YouTube money to independent musicians so far, and that figure is growing fast. Some CD Baby artists are earning tens of thousands every quarter from YouTube alone.

And since CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization and Sync Licensing Programs are included with CD Baby distribution, why not set yourself up to collect what’s yours and be ready for when a song or album catches on?

So, let’s talk about these various avenues for driving revenue from YouTube activity

(I just used lots of V’s in that sentence, didn’t I?)

The three revenue opportunities I’ll be talking about in-depth are: 1) micro-sync licensing — which actually covers a broader realm than just YouTube, including other video platforms such as Vimeo, , 2) Content ID — including U.G.C. (user-generated content), and 3) subscription streaming and ad revenue from YouTube Music.

1. Micro-sync licensing

As the writer and publisher of your own music, you have the right to license your songs for “synchronization,” meaning your music gets synched to moving images (film, TV, commercials, games, etc.). Artists can sometimes earn high dollars from a traditional sync placement, and CD Baby has recently placed some of our artists’ songs in film and TV productions for as much as $44,000.
But with the explosion of online video over the last ten years, there’s a whole new world of sync opportunities: micro-sync licensing.

Micro-sync licensing is where video content creators (many of them non-professionals) license your music for a small fee so they can add it to their own home movies, wedding videos, and crazy cat clips. Then they can upload their video to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. without worrying about any copyright issues concerning the music.

To be clear, micro-sync licensing is not a revenue stream that’s generated through YouTube activity. When your song is licensed for micro-sync usage (long before it ever ends up on YouTube, or Vimeo, or other online platforms), you earn a small upfront fee for that license. That license gives content creators the right to then use your music in the videos they post online. So micro-sync licensing is not tied to YouTube, nor does it depend on YouTube — but if we’re talking about synching music with video, let’s be real: a majority of the people who will license your music in this way will end up putting that video on YouTube. So we can see YouTube as one of the driving forces beyind micro-sync revenue.

Plus, when these creators upload videos to YouTube that contain your legally licensed music, you also earn a share of any YouTube ad revenue associated with those videos in perpetuity, through YouTube’s Content ID system. (More on this second revenue source later).

If you’ve signed up for CD Baby’s Sync Licensing Program, your music will be made available to video content creators for micro-sync licensing, as well as traditional sync licensing opportunities.

[Check out our interview with CD Baby artist Josh Collum to see how he quickly grew his micro-sync revenues from a few hundred dollars a year to tens of thousands every quarter.]

2. Collecting ad revenue through Content ID 

As I outlined above, you generate upfront income through micro-sync whenever a content creator legally licenses your music for use in their video.

But let’s be honest: most people on YouTube are not paying to legally license the music they use in their videos. That’s where Content ID comes in!

Through CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization Program, we’ll make sure YouTube takes an audio fingerprint of your songs using their Content ID system, and properly identifies every instance of your music across all of YouTube — not just official music videos you’ve uploaded to your own channel, but also videos uploaded by other people (known as user-generated content, or “UGC.”)

When they find such instances (in fact, when they find ANY instance of your music on their free platform) YouTube will serve up advertisements on those videos. Any time advertising revenue is generated from an ad placed on a video containing your music, you earn a share.

Why is CD Baby claiming rights to my video?

In short: we’re not.

If you see a “matched third party content” notice on a video you’ve uploaded to your own channel, that means YouTube’s Content ID system is working correctly. They’ve identified that your music is used in the video, and because CD Baby is helping you monetize your music across YouTube, the notice identifies us as the party who administers those rights for you. You still retain 100% ownership of your music.

Again, if advertising revenue is generated — by a viewer clicking an ad or watching some minimum duration of a video ad — you, as the rights holder to the music, are paid a share of that ad revenue. You’ll see the payment in the accounting section of your CD Baby members dashboard.

[If you want to know more about how and when ads are selected for display on your videos, check out our article “How monetization works on YouTube.”]

Granted, payment from a single ad click or ad view won’t be much to shout about, and you won’t earn nearly as much from a single micro-sync placement as you would if your song got used in a Coke commercial; but in the modern music industry, what your fans do (and want to do) with your music has real value. Cumulatively, ad revenue through Content ID and licensing fees for micro-sync placements can add up, especially when you consider that these earnings are possible in perpetuity.

Rather than the one big moment, it’s about volume over time.

How can you generate more advertising revenue on YouTube? Try a few of these techniques to encourage your fans to create video content using your music:

* Make sure your fans know they can use your songs for their wedding videos, family reunion videos, company or school projects, vacation slideshows, etc.

* Host a video contest and ask your fans to create music videos. It doesn’t have to be a big-budget production: It could be footage of a dance party, a stop-motion animation, a bunch of kids lip syncing, or a lyric video.

* Create and upload videos for ALL your songs (even if they’re just simple album art videos).

* Sign up your entire back catalog for CD Baby’s Sync Licensing and YouTube Monetization Program, because you never know which of your songs might be perfect for some content producer’s needs. Even your oldest songs can keep working for you long-term.

3. YouTube Music

Here’s where things can get a little more complicated. YouTube recently launched its YouTube Redsubscription service, which lets subscribers watch videos and listen to music (including full albums in high quality audio) ad-free  — even when offline — for $9.99/month.The music portion of this subscription service is contained within an app called YouTube Music (formerly known as YouTube Music Key).

As a CD Baby artist, if you’re distributing your music to streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify, your albums and singles will be delivered to YouTube Music automatically as part of your distribution package.

Note: this distribution to YouTube is a SEPARATE service from our YouTube Monetization Program, even though both are included in the price of any CD Baby Pro or Standard package.

(Don’t want your music streaming on YouTube? No worries. Just change your distribution preferences within your members account.)

So, if your distribution level is set to include streaming services, we will deliver to YouTube high quality album art videos, or what YouTube is calling “Art Tracks,” which play audio while displaying an image of your album cover.

These Art Track videos are available NOT ONLY to YouTube Red subscribers — for which you’ll be paid a streaming fee based on YouTube Red’s monthly subscription revenue (similar to how Spotify and Apple Music structure per-stream payouts) — but also as ad-supported content accessible to EVERYONE for free on YouTube.com. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re set up to collect ad revenue through Content ID as well, because the same exact Art Track video could be earning you money in two different ways:

* Revenue for a subscriber’s streaming activity on YouTube Music will be paid to you by CD Baby similarly to a stream on Spotify or Apple Music, and you’ll be able to view the details in the accounting section of your member account.

* If the video is viewed by non-subscribers, it might be generating ad revenue. Your share of that revenue would be paid to you through CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization Program.

What if I don’t want my music on YouTube?

That is fine. You can change your distribution settings within your CD Baby member account at any time. We’ll have YouTube remove those Art Track videos.

4. Elbow grease

There are, of course, plenty of other ways to use YouTube to earn money.  These include:

* Harnessing the power of your fan community through a service such as Patreon.

* Using YouTube Cards, calls-to-action, and video descriptions to drive external sales or crowdfunding.

* And the most obvious of them all — crossing your fingers and hoping that exposure/activity/promotion means that if people enjoy your music and videos on YouTube, they’ll be more likely to buy an album, sign up for your mailing list, or attend one of your concerts down the line.



Hopefully this helps you better understand the process of monetizing your music on YouTube. The good news is, even if the details are still foggy, you really don’t have to worry about it when you sign up with CD Baby. We’ll monetize your music for you, make sure that Content ID is working correctly, and pay you what you’re owed (both ad revenue and subscription streaming revenue.)

Get started monetizing your music on YouTube today!

Looking for more info on getting the most out of YouTube? Check out the following articles:

1. Twenty-five ways to optimize your YouTube channel

2. The importance of watch time and subscribers to your YouTube channel

3. A quick guide to YouTube advertising for musicians

Note: Read the original article here, it has some video's that explain CD Baby's role in detail.

onsdag 10. mai 2017

Building a Spotify playlist that shows in search

Spotify is one of the best places to promote your music.  Chris Robley wrote this article for DIY Musician, the great blog that the people at CDBaby are responsible for.

You want to land a song on a big Spotify playlist? It (probably) won’t happen overnight.

First you have to build your playlist resume. Once your songs start seeing lots of lower-level playlist activity, Spotify’s algorithm will take notice — and THAT’s when you’re more likely to get the attention of prominent playlist curators.

The more you build a presence for your songs on smaller playlists, the more chance you’ll have of getting a big playlist placement.

Step #1: Create your own playlists

This is an obvious place to start building a playlist presence, since you have complete control over the song selection.

Creating your own playlists gives you a great way to:

• connect with fans between album cycles
• re-purpose your catalog in countless ways by putting old songs into fresh contexts
• highlight the music of your influences, local music scene, new discoveries, etc.
and much more
But before you put too much effort into playlisting, you’ll first want to become a verified artist on Spotify so you can display and promote your playlists right from your artist page.

Go HERE to find out how to get verified.

How to create a Spotify playlist

1. Within the Spotify app, click “(+) New Playlist.”
2. Give your playlist a name and description. Be sure to use rich keywords that mention the style of music, specific artists within the playlist, or other organizing principles for the songs contained within.
3. Upload a custom image for your playlist.
4. Add a URL to the “insert link” field linking to a pre-order page or music store. (Be considerate and don’t link to a competing streaming service.)
5. Click “Create.”
6. Add songs! You can do this by searching for the song on Spotify and dragging it into your playlist in the left-hand sidebar, or by clicking the ellipses next to any track and selecting “Add to Playlist.”

Playlist best-practices for Spotify

There are millions of playlists on Spotify. Every user has the ability to create multiple playlists. So understandably, Spotify doesn’t want EVERY single playlist on their platform to be publicly searchable. In order for YOUR playlist to grow as much as possible, you’re going to want to show up in a search on Spotify. That way your reach extends beyond your existing fanbase.

There are some recognizable attributes shared by many playlists that Spotify serves up in their search. Might as well emulate what’s working, right? Here’s how to make an effective — and search-friendly —  playlist.

Build playlists around your interests

If you’re enthusiastic about your playlist, you’ll make it awesome! If not, you’ll lose steam and neglect it. Which brings us to…

Update your playlists on a regular schedule

To make a playlist that’s worth following, it should be dynamic and change over time. Otherwise a user can just listen once and be done with it. Choose a day to make updates each week and keep it consistent to build expectation among followers.

Only ONE song per artist

Unless a playlist’s sole purpose is to highlight the music of one artist, it’s best to make the song list diverse. Spotify’s algorithm can downgrade a playlist (in search and relevance) that is too heavily weighted towards one artist.

Seed your own songs!

Nestle your song perfectly among a bunch of great tunes by other artists. But remember: just one song per playlist, unless it’s a playlist organized around your music alone.

Playlists should have between 20-60 songs

Spotify’s algorithm favors playlists with more than 20 songs and less than 60. Aim for 25-30 when you first create the list, and then add more songs on a regular basis. Once you’re approaching 60 songs, shuffle the oldest tracks off the list. (You can even create an archive playlist to house all the songs that have been moved off the primary playlist).

Cover artwork

It’s not make-or-break, but seeing one of those default playlist covers with the four smaller images is a little disappointing. You’re curating a musical experience; why not also provide a custom visual that helps listeners enter your world?

Use smart keywords in your description

You should describe your playlist using words, phrases, genre descriptions, and artist names that listeners will be searching for. Spotify gives you plenty of text space to do it. Optimize!

Your playlist name is SUPER IMPORTANT!

Which do you think is more likely to appear in a search: “Prog-Rock Classics from the 1970’s” or “Brand New Crystal Visions of Dancing Planets Outside of Time?” Choose a playlist name that sets clear expectations.

Promote your playlists

Share the playlists you create with your fans on social, email, etc. Ask them to follow your playlists, and ask for their suggestions for songs or artists you can add to your playlists in the future. The more followers your playlist has, the more likely it will be served up in a search on Spotify.

Tag, tag, tag

Whenever you add tracks to the playlist, tag those artists on social (this is the more passive version of notifying the artist directly, which we’ll get to below…)

Ask your fans to save a song from your playlist to their own playlists

Again, Spotify’s algorithm takes special notice whenever a user is motivated to move a song from a playlist they follow to one of their own playlists. This is the MOST IMPORTANT action a fan can take to support you on Spotify. So provide a link to your playlist and ask your fans to do just that!

Notify other artists who’ve been added to your playlists

Reach out via Twitter, Facebook, or email. Let them know you love their music, have added a song to your playlist, and ask them to follow the playlist and promote it to their fans.

Embed your playlist

Spotify also smiles favorably upon playlists that are being shared outside of the their platform. Embed the playlist on your own website, and ask your fans and friends to do the same. The wider your reach online, the better you look in the eyes of that mysterious Spotify algorithm.

To embed a playlist:

Go to the playlist page on Spotify
Click on the ellipses
Scroll down to “Copy embed code”
Paste that code into website

Alright, that’s enough playlist tips for one day. Keep ’em in mind and your playlist will have a good chance of appearing in Spotify’s search. You’ll also be on your way towards building a bigger playlist presence.

Want more Spotify playlisting advice? Check out the following:

How to get your first 250 followers on Spotify: becoming a verified artist
The 6 primary types of Spotify playlist that can feature your music
Twelve playlist ideas that can breathe new life into your back-catalog
How to get your music on Spotify playlists, Pt. 1


Or download our FREE guide “Getting Your Songs on Spotify Playlists.”

Read the original article: here

fredag 17. mars 2017

Your guide to digital music marketing and crushing SoundCloud!

Did you know that SoundCloud let you download a 400 pages PDF ebook named "The SoundCloud Bible"? They say it's your guide to digital music marketing and crushing SoundCloud. It has some very practical and helpful advice, like:

• Get more plays and followers.
• Optimize your social media presence.
• Influencer marketing: get blogs, YouTube and SoundCloud support.
• Monetize your music on SoundCloud, YouTube and other stores.
• Learn about your rights and how to negotiate deals.

You can download the Advanced Package ebook for USD 49 or the Complete Package for USD 99 here: The SoundCloud Bible

onsdag 1. mars 2017

How to get your music on Spotify playlists

This article was first published on the Ditto Blog on July 2016.

Millions of music lovers all over the world use Spotify to discover new artists, so as an up-and-coming musician, it’s vital to get your music on Spotify playlists and in front of legions of potential fans. But how do new artists get featured?

Getting the biggest Spotify playlists to feature your tracks by reaching out to curators is not an easy task, but well worth it for the exposure you’ll receive if you’re successful. These tips will show you how to get your music featured on Spotify playlists.

Get your music on Spotify Playlists by pitching to curators 

When it comes to pitching your music, first of all you’ll need to find out who curates the Spotify playlist you’re interested in. They could be media figures, industry bods, or just an average Spotify user. You can either find them through Spotify or alternatively carry out some research online and email them. Some playlists may be curated by the platform itself. In this case, you’ll need to find the contact info for Spotify’s Artist Liaison.

Once you’ve found the right contact details, make sure to keep your email brief with prominent links to your music. Make it as easy as possible for them to quickly find out who you are and listen to your music.

Submit your tracks to the Ditto Music Spotify playlists

Ditto Music is now accepting submissions for our New Music Spotify Playlists, which all feature the hottest new and independent tracks. We’ve curated a number of playlists across a wide range of genres, including indie, dance, R&B and more.

We also pick out the hottest tracks to push to our own network of Spotify playlist curators, who control massive playlists like New Music Fridays and Viral Top 50. Click here to follow our playlists and submit your music for consideration.

Get your Spotify profile verified

Most Spotify playlist curators will be much more inclined to include you in their playlists if your artist profile is verified. To do this, you’ll need to have at least 250 followers. Once you’ve reached 250, you can complete a Spotify Verification Request form to get your profile verified. You’ll find this form here.

Get as many followers as possible

While 250 followers is the bare minimum you’ll need to get your artist profile verified, the more you have, the more likely it is that Spotify playlist curators will take you seriously. Make sure all of your friends, family and fans are following you on Spotify, share your tracks across social media and promote your Spotify account wherever and whenever possible to build up your followers.

Maintain a professional online presence

When you’re trying to get your music onto a Spotify playlist, it’s likely the playlist curator will look into your background a little more with a quick Google search. To make a good first impression, it’s important to make sure your online presence looks as professional as possible. That includes updating your website, social media accounts and any artist bios across the web.

Share any playlists you’re featured on

If your music ends up being included on any Spotify playlist, no matter how small, share it as much as possible to start racking up more and more streams. It’s always a good idea to tag the playlist curator in your posts too, to show them you’re invested in their playlist and build your relationship with them.

Don’t be afraid to follow up

Spotify’s playlist curators are always looking for the best new music and won’t want to let a great track pass them by. If you don’t have any success from pitching your tracks at first, your message may have simply been missed, so don’t be afraid to send a polite follow-up email.

Read the original article here.

mandag 6. februar 2017

6 Tips For a Successful Album Release

This article was first published at Reverberation by Janelle Rogers. She began her over 20 year music industry career working for SXSW Music and Media Conference. She then went on to work for BMG Distribution for 10 years in the alternative music department where she championed bands including Kings of Leon, The Strokes, and The White Stripes. In 2002 she launched Green Light Go Music PR as a haven of honesty, integrity and passion for underrepresented artists and labels.

You’ve put in the work, slogged through all the rewrites, did all your mastering, and now it’s album release time. You have a show booked within the next month, so logic states you should make it the record release show and your official release date. Not so fast. If you’re looking for more exposure on your music beyond the traditional friends and family who come to every show, you need to be strategic. Your band is your business, and like any successful business you need to create a plan for your album launch. If you’ve invested your time and money into the recording, don’t you want to make sure it’s heard by as many people as possible?

Below are considerations we make for every album launch to insure the greatest likelihood of success, and they form a blueprint any artist can follow.

Set Your Release Date a Minimum of Three Months in the Future.
You should begin by announcing your release date 3-6 months in advance to meet media deadlines, create awareness, and begin building a buzz. This is the #1 mistake we see bands make. You’ve spent months, if not years, on your album and you just want people to hear it. I get it. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, you greatly reduce the amount of people hearing your music by releasing it right away. Think about every band you’ve deemed successful and chances are they had a plan in place to build up to the release date. Since my company, Green Light Go Publicity, is a music PR firm, we often look at everything from the perspective of a music blogger, radio station or traditional print outlet. These outlets receive dozens, if not hundreds of emails per day, all asking for music to be heard. It’s literally impossible to listen to every band who submits in a given day. This means they often need weeks, if not months, before your music is heard, especially if the familiarity isn’t already there. It also means it often takes repeated attempts contacting a media outlet before that first listen happens.

Set Your Release Date on Friday.
In 2015, official release dates in the U.S. were changed from Tuesday to a global Friday release to help combat piracy. Even if piracy isn’t your top concern, this release date should be. It shows you take your band seriously and understand the standard business practice of the music industry. By adopting a Friday release date you’re also giving validity to your release.

Even if your record release show doesn’t fall on Friday, you should set a Friday release date. The show should be in support of the album first and foremost. If you are someone who has set your release date based on an upcoming show, this is the time to change that. Instead set your release date and then book a show at a credible venue in support of it.

Target the Right Music Bloggers.
You should be sending your music to bloggers and magazines to increase your fanbase. And that begins with targeting the right media contacts. Research the best publications for your type of music and then send it to the person who seems most likely to cover it. If you want a review, send it to the music editor or reviews editor. If it’s a specific writer, drop them a line telling them why they’ll like it based on what they’ve written about. Don’t send your rock album to a writer who only covers hip hop or electronic. No matter how good your record is, he won’t be into it and most likely the only coverage you’ll get is on his wall of shame. You should also look at the level of artists being covered at the outlet. If the outlet only covers established and celebrity acts and you’re unsigned band is hovering right around 1k followers on Facebook, the chance of that outlet covering you is slim to none.

Make Your ReverbNation Profile and Website Press Friendly.
There are certain things media outlets and music industry professionals look for when discovering a new band. You should make it easy for them if your aim is increased exposure. This should include hi-res publicity photos (at least 300dpi), bio, mp3s or streamed audio they can hear. The bio should have a strong story angle that is definitively you and hasn’t already been said before. It should not include things like, “sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before” or “we’re completely DIY.” If you need ideas for a great publicity photo, look at some of your favorite blogs to see what types of photos they post. It should tell a story about your band, look professional and catch attention. You want people to hear your music, right?  So, include a single or music that is most representative of your current sound. You should NOT include your entire album or EP on your website before the release date. Instead only include the mp3 you’ve already released and then password protect the album. If you’ve received press, include press quotes with the highest profile or the best quotes at the top of your page.

Set a Single Release Date.
Here’s the good news about having to wait to release your album. It doesn’t mean you have to wait to release any music. In fact, I highly recommend releasing an mp3 within three weeks to start getting the music out there and also test how people react. If you want coverage on blogs, offer at least one downloadable mp3 through Soundcloud for their readers. This is a great way to build press early to increase both fan and media interest, which increases your chance of a successful release.

Don’t Forget About Social Media.
Look at ways you can keep your fans engaged while supporting those who have supported you. Start teasing out the single and album release on your social networks and create a banner for the page. If you don’t have access to a designer or aren’t inclined yourself, Canva provides great free templates for professional looking banners. Retweet when a fan or blog says something great about your music. Involve your fans in the process by giving sneak peeks of cover art, publicity photo shoots, videos or anything else they want to know about. Pay attention to where you receive the most engagement and make sure you plan out more of the same. Ask your fans to retweet and share your Facebook posts with their friends.

Need a ridiculously simple way to update fans through email and social media at the same time?

A lot more goes into releasing an album than just setting an arbitrary release date or sending it out the minute you receive the masters back. If you truly want your music to be heard, take a little extra time planning a release that will benefit from the time and energy you put into the process.

Click here to read the original article.

lørdag 13. august 2016

Musicians: 6 Tips to Rapidly Grow Your Instagram Following

This article is from the Sonicbids Blog, and it was written by Lauren Gill. Lauren Gill is the founder and chief power specialist at Power Publicity, a marketing, branding, and public relations firm that empowers entertainment, nonprofit, and lifestyle brands. She has executed several successful marketing and PR campaigns for major and indie recording artists. You can follow her on Twitter @IamLaurenGill and @_powerpublicity.

With 500 million active users, Instagram is a great visual social media platform to build your online community. Instagram allows you to give your fans a peek into your world through your photos and videos. While funny memes, quotes, and viral videos may get attention, building a community of fans for you and your music requires the right strategies. Here are six tips to grow your fanbase on Instagram.

1. Tell your story
Think of your Instagram feed as your personal online magazine. Use your photos and videos to visually tell your story. Pick main content themes that show who you are as an artist, and build a consistent feed. Some example of content themes are performing, recording, your musical interests, fashion/style, and religion/spirituality.

2. Decide on the overall look of your photos
When someone visits your profile, your first nine photos should have a consistent look. Decide if you want your Instagram feed to feature photos with an array of bold, eye-catching colors or if you want your photos to have a more minimalist, monochromatic look. You also need decide to whether you want your photos to have cool undertones or warm undertones.

Use a photo-editing app like VSCOCam to edit your photos to match your theme.

3. Post consistently
Along with having a consistent theme, you also need to be consistent in your posting. Consistency is key in building your followers over time. Sporadic posting could actually cause you to lose followers.

Post to your page one to three times a day to build your following. Create some of your posts and schedule them ahead of time with apps such as Hootsuite and Later to stay on top of your social game.

4. Use the right hashtags
Think of hashtags that both represent your brand and what your fans are searching for on Instagram. Use an analytics tool such as Iconosquare to see which hashtags are popular among your fans. Switch out your hashtags every few months to keep them fresh and correlate with your fans’ interests.

[Musicians: 7 Best Practices for Instagram Hashtags You Need to Know]

5. Spark engagement
You have to give in order to receive likes and comments on your Instagram content. Ask your followers questions, and post call-to-action photos to engage them. Like other peeple’s photos, and leave genuine comments on their content. Commit to engaging with a specific number of people per week to grow your following.

6. Post at the right times
In order to receive the most engagement, you must post your content at the right times. Post your content morning, afternoon, and evening to reach your fans in different time zones. Use Iconosquare to analyze when your followers are online. Study your followers’ behavior for at least a month and make adjustments to your posting times based on your findings.

Read the original article here.

onsdag 15. juni 2016

10 Reasons Musicians Fail On Social Media

This post was written by Joy Ike ​and originally appeared on the Bandzoogle Blog. Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. She is also the founder and primary writer for Grassrootsy, one of the most-read music business blogs on the internet. She believes the greatest tragedy in the world is having a talent and keeping it to yourself.

Social media. Whether you hate it or love it, it’s there and it makes the world go round… at least the world of entertainment. And if you want to be on the same level as all those other artists, you have to use it to promote your music.

But, simply posting on social media isn’t good enough. Here are 10 reasons why some musicians are dropping the ball with their social media marketing.

[How to Get More Fans Through Social Media]

1. You don’t post enough

The average artist just doesn’t post enough. Yeah sure, it can be hard to generate activity on your Facebook page when you have a Facebook profile that naturally gets more traffic.

And Twitter seems to have taken a backseat ever since Instagram came onto the scene. So why bother?

[25 ways to get more fans for your band using Instagram]

Well, whether you believe it or not, regularly posting (even when it feels like it’s falling on deaf ears) does make a difference. It keeps people interested in what you’re doing. It gives people a place to go to find out more. It reminds them that they can go directly to the source (you) for information instead of roaming the interwebs trying to figure out where you’re playing and what time you go on.

2. You post too often

And then there’s the band that over-posts. You share the same event three times in 3 days. You post different stuff every hour on the hour. You share the same thing on your Facebook Page, Facebook profile, Twitter, and Instagram all in the same way without taking time to make your content uniquely appropriate for each platform.

If this is you, STOP! You’re trying too hard and people are starting to tune you out. Some are even unfriending you because you’re blowing up their feed.

3. You post content at the wrong times

Posting at the wrong time is the average musician’s biggest social media mistake. If you really want fans to donate to your Kickstarter, posting about it on a Saturday evening when they’re out to dinner with friends just won’t work.

Check out this Infographic for tips on when you should post what type of content. It doesn’t include Instagram, but you’ll get the point.

4. You think your Social Media accounts are for advertising

Your social media accounts do not exist for the sole purpose of advertising. In fact, they exist for the sake of connecting with your audience.

Forget about what makes your fans like your music. More importantly, what makes them like you?

Sharing content is (strangely enough) like being in a relationship. When your fans like you they are more likely to come to your shows, share you with their friends, and support the things you’re doing – which happens to include the stuff you’re advertising.

5. You talk about yourself or your band too much

Talk about your fans. Talk about your awesome house concert hosts. Rave about the venue. Talk about some awesome new band you discovered (can’t be yours)!

There’s so much to share on social media. And the truth is, when you share about others it doesn’t detract from your own stuff. It may feel like it does, but it doesn’t. Think of it as an exercise in selflessness.

6. Your photos suck!

If you’re on Instagram, you owe it to your fans to care just a little bit about the content you post.

Gone are the days of fuzzy photos and poorly lit faces. It’s not hard to grab a good shot if you have a phone made in this decade, some good lighting (open your blinds) and something worth shooting.

Give your photos a little more consideration before you post them. You’ll see photo likes go up, and more fan engagement.

7. You forgot to edit

Sucky captions can totally destroy fan engagement. If your post is too long, most people won’t stick it out to the end. It’s why Twitter’s 140 character thing is so popular. If your comment is an inside joke that only .01% of the population understands, that will also hurt you.

Spell check. Grammar check. Find ways to make your post straight, digestible, and to the point. There are always exceptions to the rule, but simple posts get more traffic.

8. You’re not tagging

Tagging other people makes your information travel further. If you’re promoting a show and you’re not tagging other bands on the bill, the venue, or the event sponsors (if they exist), you’re losing out on bigger exposure.

Each tag increases the likelihood of having your content shared, re-tweeted, and seen by a bigger audience. A venue you’re playing might not tweet about your show, but they will retweet what you’ve posted. Funny how that works.

9. You’re not hashtagging

Hashtagging is almost as important as tagging. It’s a great way to share your content with people who never would have found it otherwise. It increases the exposure of your content and helps you think creatively about who might be most interested in reading what you’ve shared. Check out this post for some helpful and thorough tips on hashtagging: Hashtags 101: How to Use Them & Why They Matter

10. You think it’s time consuming

You put in what you get out. Sometimes creating content can take 1 or 2 minutes. Sometimes it can take 15-20.

Doesn’t really matter as long as you do it. Some weeks you won’t have much to share. Other weeks you’ll have a lot going on. But, like I said, you put in what you get out.

Good luck!

Read the original article here.

onsdag 25. mai 2016

The New Artist Model Approach to Musician Websites

Dave Kusek is running his own website "New Artist Model" which he describes like this: "The New Artist Model provides the most effective online music business school available for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers and songwriters." - Here is an article he has written for Bandxoogle (another website for music artists):

Your website is arguably the most important piece of your online presence - it’s the glue that holds everything together. But it can be so much more than just the place you sell your music.

Your website can be a powerful funnel that drives your fans towards more engagement and helps them up the ladder towards superfans. It’s the place where you can convert people from casual fans to paying customers. And it’s the place where you can start more direct conversations with your fans as you grow your email list.

I don’t want you to think of your website as a just static page. Instead, think of it as a part of a big funnel - a tool to move your fans towards deeper engagement.

Hit the Big Three

The first step to really make your website an effective funnel is to make sure you’re hitting the big three. In other words, your website needs to specifically address three different types of fans and give them the content they’re looking for. (You also need to have content specifically for press, but we’ll talk about that in the free online workshop)

1. Potential Fans

Number one is potential fans. These are people who have just discovered your music. Maybe they got a recommendation from a friend, they saw you open for another band they like, or they heard your music on the radio. Either way, they’re looking for more information and they’re looking to solidify their opinion about you - and that means you need to make a good first impression.

First and foremost, you want to make sure you’re website looks visually pleasing - that means not cluttered, easy to navigate, and a cohesive look and feel with consistent photos, colors, and fonts. Potential fans aren’t invested in you or your music, so if they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’re gone.

These people are mostly looking to hear more of your music, so make sure you make it easy for them. Include a music player with full versions of a few of your best songs at the very least. Make sure this player is above the fold when people hit your site - like we said before, the less searching they have to do, the better.

2. Current Fans

The next group of people you need to cater for are your current fans. These people make up the vast majority of your fanbase. There’s definitely a spectrum of dedication among your fans, but for the most part, they’re looking to get to know you a little better and to buy things when they visit your website.

For these guys, make sure you have a well-crafted bio. Try to tie in your personality - like it’s coming from you - so they feel like they’re getting to know you on a more personal level. A blog is also a great way to keep your fans up to date on what you’re up to. Try sharing the behind the scenes work that goes into your music, photos from the road, or info on your gear.

You also want to make sure your store and tour info is set up, easy to navigate, and up to date. These fans are much more invested in your music and they want to buy your album, merch, and tickets to your next show. It’s best to have your store and tour info built right into your website so they don’t have to click all over the web to get it.

Like we said earlier, there is a spectrum of buyers here, so try to have a few different price points available. Have digital downloads and physical CDs, lower-end stickers and T-shirts.

3. Superfans

And the last group you need to think about when creating your website are your superfans. You won’t have a lot of superfans, but they will probably make up a big portion of the buying power of your fanbase, so it’s really important to give them what they want.

For the most part, superfans are looking for a more personal connection with you and your music and exclusives. Your blog is a great place to give them the insider content they want. In addition to your update posts, try to get a little more personal. Tell them the stories behind certain songs or what the lyrics mean to you. Another option is to have a member-only login-restricted area of your website where you post this kind of content just for superfans. Charge for this or keep it free, the point is to just give it some exclusivity.

If you can, try to offer limited runs, meet and greet packages, and exclusive sets on your store for your super fans. Maybe create a batch of 100 limited alternate design or alternate color T-shirts, or special bundles for your new album.

Make Your Website Part of Your Funnel

Alright, now that we have your content figured out, let’s quickly go through each step of your website funnel so you can see how fans travel through your site’s content and move up the ladder towards superfans.

Social is at the top. This is where you gather your community around your music and start linking them to your website. Think of your social interactions the start of a conversation - you start the relationship, you get them interested, and you link to your website or your blog to find out more.

Next is your blog. This is where fans can get to know you a little better. Post behind the scenes info and let them into your world. Your blog should be the most dynamic element of your website - you should update it on a regular basis to give your fans a reason to keep coming back. After all, the more they visit your site, the more they’re exposed to your offers, and the greater the chance they’ll make a purchase.

Next you have your email collection. A great approach is to give your fans some incentives for signing up. Up front, you can offer them a few free songs in exchange for their email address, but you also need to think about what you’re going to give them after they’re on your list.

Your email should really be the place you give your fans even more exclusive content. (After all, why part with their email when they could get the same info on social media? Try offering early access - to new music, new merch, and new videos - exclusive discounts, and more personal, deep, and funny stories behind your music.

[9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)]

And finally we have your store. A paying fan is one of your biggest assets as a musician, after all, you have to make a living! All the previous levels of the funnel will drive fans here - the point when they’re comfortable enough and invested in your career enough that they’re willing to give you money.

Read the original article here.


søndag 24. april 2016

Five Steps To Creating An Effective Music Marketing Plan

This guest post was written by Jon Ostrow for BandZoogle. Jon is the Director of Sales at Bandsintown, Founder of MicControl, lover of all things music. I think he has some very interesting points! Read on!

"Whether you’re a brand new musician establishing yourself online for the first time, or an already established band with a dedicated fan base, there is one thing that love it or hate it, all musicians will have to do. That, my friends, is marketing your music.

So what is marketing?

Marketing is a way of generating fans and awareness for your music. This can be done through a variety of different tactics such as content creation / curation, offering unique experiences, developing a sense of community, and yes even paying to reach fans (new and old).

But marketing needs to have a purpose. Marketing your music is not simply just posting music online, liking statuses on Facebook, and retweeting people on Twitter.

How to successfully promote your music

The first step in effective marketing is creating a marketing plan for your music. This is a comprehensive understanding of your audience, the marketplace, and a plan to accomplish whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

So before we move any further, ask yourself:

• Why do you need to create a marketing plan? And what exactly do you want to accomplish?

• Are you just getting started with an online presence and need to reach new fans?

• Are you ready to head out on tour and need to sell tickets?

• Are you already on tour and looking to sell more merch?

• Do you want to double the size of your mailing list?

• Are you putting out a new album and need to re-engage fans to generate awareness about your new project?

All of these, and many more, are valid reasons to get started with your marketing efforts. So let’s dive into the 5 steps to creating an effective music marketing plan:

STEP 1: Define the audience for your music

Read this next statement carefully, and read it twice.

Knowing your fans is the key to success.

With this understanding, you’ll be able to identify where your fans exist and engage online (note: everyone is on Facebook, but not everyone uses Facebook to engage as a fan). You’ll also know how to effectively communicate with your fans, and most importantly, you’ll know how to offer value to your fans to keep them happy and coming back for more.

You should ask yourself some questions to develop a clear picture of your ‘ideal fan’. The fan who is engaging, who can become a word-of-mouth-spreading super fan, who will buy your albums, merch, and tickets. There are two steps to take with the following questions:

Go through and answer the questions using your existing (gut) instinct.

Go out and do some research, and validate or change the responses below until you know for sure who your fans are.

• How old is your fan?

• What gender is your fan?

• Where is your fan located?

• What kind of personality does your fan have?

• Is your fan an intellectual?

• Is your fan a partier?

• What excites your fan besides music?

• What is your fan willing to pay for?

• Who is your fan’s favorite band (besides you of course)?

• What is your fan’s favorite social network?

• What is your fan passionate about?

There are far more questions you can be asking yourself here to get to know your ideal fan. Don’t get to a point of analysis paralysis, just think through all the different aspects of what can make your fan unique until you feel you have a strong grasp on the bigger picture.

STEP 2: Analyze the market

Once you understand who your fans are, you also need to understand the market. You need to understand what’s happening in your local community as well as within your genre globally. Having this understanding will help you to establish where you fit in and what unique value you can offer to your fans.

Again, you’ll want to go out and so some research and get an idea of the following:

Which musicians are seeing the most success locally / globally within your genre?

What are these successful musicians doing that is working most effectively to build and engage a fan base?

What are those who are failing doing wrong?

How likely is the market to buy your album?

Is any unique offering being successfully bundled with albums to drive stronger sales?

What sort of content seems to be resonating most effectively… Photos? Videos? Blogs? Remixes? Covers?

Are artists within your genre touring successfully locally / globally?

Again, there are certainly other questions you can be asking yourself here, but this should set you on the right path to understanding your market.

STEP 3: Establish goals

As I stated earlier in the article, marketing has to have a purpose. At this point you should have established why you need to be marketing your music, but now it’s time to set goals around that purpose.

For example, let’s say you’re marketing a new album. Ok, great. But what’s the goal here?

Is it to sell more albums? Sure, but how many more albums? And how long do you want to give yourself to achieve this goal?

Every goal should be actionable, measurable and timed. This way you’re not just aimlessly ‘marketing’ without a true understanding of how successful you are.

Setting these goals is certainly easier if you’ve done this before. In the example above, let’s say you released an album two years ago, you can use this as a baseline of how many albums sold last time around and how long it took, so you can set reasonable goals for this new effort.

If you’ve never done this before, that’s ok too. Everyone starts at zero. Simply refer to your market research and base your goals off of what’s been done by others similar to your experience level.

STEP 4: Develop an action plan

With your actionable, measureable, timed goals in place, it’s now time to create a plan to achieve these goals. There are several components to include in your action plan, including:

• PR

• Advertising

• Content creation / curation

• Touring

• Social Media / Community Management

• Networking

• Etc. (whatever you need to achieve your goals)

Map out how you’re going to approach each of these on a monthly basis. But word to the wise, only map out a calendar one quarter at a time so you don’t spend time on a plan for 6 months from now when things can change very quickly.

10 Essential Online Music Marketing Tools

Easiest way to do this is to set up a spreadsheet with the overall components listed down the left hand side (i.e. PR, Advertising, Networking, etc.) and the monthly breakdown of the quarter across the top (i.e. January, February, March).

This will help you to see a full picture of say, all of your planned PR efforts, or how you plan to create and release content across the next few months. This clarity can help to remove some of the stress and make each aspect of this roadmap easier to conquer.

And remember, everything you do here should have some sort of a performance indicator (often called KPIs) so that the effectiveness, or lack thereof, can be measured properly.

Here are some KPIs to consider, again using the ‘album sales’ goal as the example:

How many album sales were generated through clicks from your mailing list this week? How does that compare to the week previous?

How many mailing list sign ups did your social content generate this week? How does that compare to the week previous?

Which sources to your website are leading to the most store clicks on your?

Again, the list can go on and on. Always consider what your goal is and focus your KPI on an action that directly reflects your goal.

At the end of each quarter (and really each week), you should review your efforts against your goals, and make changes as necessary – stop or change how you’re doing things that are not moving the needle, and do more of the things you’re doing that are.

STEP 5: Create a budget

Taking a career seriously in music is no different than trying to set up a new business in any other industry. It takes time and money to see growth.

At this point, you should have an action plan created for the next few months. But before you set this in stone, you should go through each action item, and determine the cost both in terms of time and money.

Make sure that the action plan is realistic, otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself off the rails and unable to achieve your goals.

To help with creating your marketing budget, check out:
How to Create a Music Marketing Budget in 4 Simple Steps

Time to dive in!

It may seem like a lot of work, but the efforts you put up front to creating a realistic, actionable and measurable marketing plan for your music will save you huge amounts of time, money, and stress later on.

Read the original article here.

torsdag 7. april 2016

The Music Industry Won’t Always Be Like This

I have to share this short text because I think it's important and very well said. It's written by Jon Hockley for Music Think Tank:

"No one is listening to you at showcases. People prefer your memes to your songs on social media. People don’t understand your solo sections.

Any of these relate to you?
If they do you may be having doubts about your abilities? Maybe you don’t think your music is good enough? Maybe you just want to jack the whole thing in.

The thing is, maybe there is nothing wrong with your music or your solos or your style.  It could be just be a simple case of ‘right place wrong time’. Perhaps your music is great but no one is ready for it? Maybe the few people that matter are listening to you at showcases. Maybe your memes are preferred to your music because you do all your posting in the morning when no one has the time to listen to music.

I want to change your perspective on common problems so that you don’t let your art suffer. I want you to shift the blame from your music to that of your environment. I want you to see that your music does have value.

Some of these problems are easy to solve such as changing the time you post online to when people have more time to listen. Changing the clubs your perform at to find people that prefer your style or just not trying to please everyone. Even changing the genre tag on your profile from electronic to alternative can have a big impact on who listens to you.

So you see by changing your environment, changing the way people see you will alter their experience with your music. It’s never totally about your skills so remember this before you reach for the erase button: Just because your music ins’t popular doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Change the frame, not the picture."

Read the original article here.

tirsdag 5. april 2016

Stop Trying to Do Everything, DIY Musicians! You're Actually Hurting Your Chances of Success

This helpful article was written by Dave Kusek for the Sonicbids blog. Dave Kusek is the founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters.

"Pretty much every indie musician I’ve talked to has two big problems: there’s just too much to do, and despite putting a lot of time and effort into their career, they feel stagnant, like they’re not making any progress.

In this article, we’re going to solve these two problems with one stone. If you want to go further, I have a time management and productivity ebook as well as a goal-setting ebook that you can download for free to keep the momentum going in your music career.

The problem with doing all the things

For sure, you have a lot of responsibilities as an indie artist, and a lot of those tasks are important. But what if I told you that you were wasting a lot of time and effort doing things that may not have as big an effect on the growth of your career as you thought?

Let me explain. The DIY revolution has pushed the mindset that you need to do everything on a lot of musicians. The music market is so crowded that we feel like we have to be on every single social media platform out there if we want to be successful. On top of that, revenue streams are diminishing and fragmenting so we feel like we need to be drawing from all the revenue streams to actually make money.

But here’s the flaw: if you’re trying to split your limited time between everything, you probably don’t have the time to dedicate to each to do them really well. And as a result, you’re taking a lot of small steps in different directions instead of focusing your efforts on a few things and taking your steps all in the same direction.

Let’s take a look at an example. If you’re using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and SoundCloud to promote your music and connect with your fans, can you realistically fully understand and master each platform? Will you know the best times to post, the best ways to engage, and the best ways to link, all the while pushing out unique content and actively engaging with fans on all platforms? Probably not. All social media platforms are different and all of them require a unique approach if you want to be truly successful.

It’s the same for revenue streams. If you really want to be successful licensing your music, you can’t treat it like a passive income stream – just putting your music out on licensing sites probably won’t get you very far. You need to be actively improving your songs, co-writing, networking in the licensing industry, sending personal emails, and doing research to find the productions your music would fit best.

It’s the same with everything else you might do in music – gigging, recording, releasing music, YouTube cover videos, and merch. If you try to do everything, you simply can’t give everything enough attention to make your endeavors really successful. In short, you’ll be doing a lot of things halfway, never actually putting in enough effort to reach your goals. You’ll be doing a lot of things, but not getting anywhere with any of them.

The focused approach

FSo how do you get past this perpetual overwhelmed feeling and also start seeing real, meaningful progress in your music career? It may seem counterintuitive, but the key is to do less, but better. If you really want to be successful, it’s not about doing a million different things and hoping it will work out. It’s about knowing where you want to go and taking calculated steps to get there. And saying no to everything else.

So how do you simplify? The first step is to really understand your goals in music. What is the one thing you really want to accomplish with your music? For sure, you can expand your efforts and start taking on more things as your career grows, but for now, try to find your one thing.

If you really want to spend most of the year gigging and touring, why waste your time trying to get licensing placements for your songs? Instead, focus on making connections in the live industry, developing your setlist, improving the way you set up your merch table, and promoting your shows. Maybe you could start doing streamed concerts or house concerts and develop some really cool merch. All these tasks really compliment touring and gigging, so the steps you take will lead towards a common goal.

The next step is to look at all the little tasks you’re doing every day and start cutting things out. What tasks aren’t taking you closer to your goals?

Is posting YouTube covers actually going to help you reach your goals in music, or are you just doing it because it’s popular and some industry expert told you it was a good strategy to get more fans? Despite what you may hear, doing YouTube successfully is a huge undertaking that goes way beyond just posting videos. But if you want to become known as a cover musician, or if you want to use YouTube channel monetization or micro sync licensing into a main revenue stream, it can be a worthwhile undertaking.

If you want to take it a step further, you can download this free time management and productivity ebook and goal setting ebook and start really power-driving through your to do list."

Read the original article here.

søndag 3. april 2016

The ten most important tools for online music marketing

The best and most important tools for online music marketing is what we all want, right? Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. She is also the founder and primary writer for Grassrootsy, one of the most-read music business blogs on the internet. She believes the greatest tragedy in the world is having a talent and keeping it to yourself. - Below is her list of the ten most important tools for online music marketing:

"I don’t doubt that you’ve probably heard of every single item on this list. But it’s easy to forget just how many (often free) resources are at your disposal and the ways in which they can help you market your music. So consider this a reminder. In this post, I’ll share why each online tool is helpful and some ways to use them well.

1. Mailing list

For the average artist, the mailing list is that thing you put in the back of the room on your semi-professional-looking merch table. You don’t encourage people to sign up and your average fan doesn’t even know you have one. What’s worse is that you rarely use it and you probably send out one newsletter update every four months #majorfail

BUT your mailing list is the single most important marketing tool you have at your disposal. Social media (we’ll talk more about that later), is great and all, but no one can keep track of everything in their feeds. And platforms (like Facebook) are making it increasingly harder to get your information across if you’re not paying for advertising.

Your newsletter is free advertising and allows you to target meaningful information to a group of people who are already die-hard fans!  Use it...and please send out at least 1 newsletter per month. Never underestimate the fact that you can reach your biggest fans with a click of a Send button.

2. Website

Facebook is not a website. Bandcamp is not a website. In fact, your ugly, unmanageable, hard to navigate website is not a website. There, I said it! Artists underestimate the power of websites just as much as they do their newsletters. Fans want a one-stop-shop where they can listen to your music, watch videos, learn about upcoming shows, and find out more about you. The easier it is to find you, the easier it is to follow you.

Furthermore, venues are more biased towards artists who represent themselves well by having a professional looking online presence. Do yourself a favor and create something with Bandzoogle. Their designs are simple, clean, and easy to use.

Bandzoogle websites have built-in mailing lists and the tools you need to step it up. Sign up free now!​

3. Indie on the Move

Indie on the Move is an absolute must-have for the traveling artists. Cutting through Indianapolis on tour and need to find a coffeehouse within 30 miles that hosts live music on weeknights? IOTM will be your best-friend.

They have the most extensive database of venues all across the United States. They allow you to search by city or within a mile radius of a zip code. Venue listings also include comments and reviews by musicians who have already played that venue. They’ll tell you how management was, if the payout was decent, and if the room fit their style, among other things. IOTM is invaluable.

4. Facebook

Every artist should use Facebook. And most do...sort of. The thing is, Facebook will work for you if you let it. But it’s not as effective as the average artist wants it to be. The thing is, half-spirited posts, status updates at the wrong time of day, lengthy posts that no one will get through, over-posting, and inviting people in Pennsylvania to your show in LA are only just a handful of the ridiculous mistakes that musicians make every single day. Do yourself a favor and read up on some Facebook best practices.

5. Twitter

With the advent of Instagram, artists don’t always see the value in Twitter. After all, Instagram is kind of like Twitter with the added bonus of pictures. But Twitter appeals to an older generation and you can still find more business using it over Instagram.

The key to taking advantage of Twitter is tagging...and again, it will only work as much as you let it. Make sure you not only tag fellow musicians and venues when you’re talking about a show, but use hashtag keywords that specifically apply to your event and the city you’re in.

6. Instagram

Instagram will be your best friend...especially if your music appeals to a younger audience. In fact, you might start using it more than any other social media platform. People love photos, plain and simple. But they don’t like ads.

Take it slow with posting show posters, and things that look too polished. Find ways to be creative with your show promo while still capturing the essence of the organic nature of Instagram. Here are two great examples of how to remind your fans about a show on Instagram without saying "hey, come to my show" for the one-hundreth time: Example 1. Example 2.

Also remember, the beauty of Instagram is that you have the opportunity of sharing everyday things with your fans - what you ate, clips from new songs you’re working on, and the bite your dog took out of your lyric notebook.

7. YouTube

YouTube is in fact a marketing tool. Think of it as your audio/visual business card. It gives people a 3-dimensional idea of who you are. Upload videos often and share them even more often. Check out this post for another great way to use your YouTube account. 8 Effective Strategies to Sell Your Music Online

8. Bandcamp

Besides being a use-friendly platform for musicians to share music, sell music, offer free download codes, and create audio widgets for your website; Bandcamp is ever-evolving and finding ways to help artists maintain more control over how they share their content. They also do a great job curating and promoting music on the platform to encourage customers to discover new music.

9. SoundCloud

SoundCloud is the Industry standard. It’s where fans and fan-makers alike go to find and listen to new music. SoundCloud offers a different experience than any other resource by letting fans comment on songs and share thoughts such as a favorite verse, other songs that they think of when they hear yours, or opinions about specific instruments on the track...etc. With the exchange of ideas and opinions, SoundCloud could be considered one of the very first music crowdsourcing platforms.

10. NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade is all about exposure and offers a pretty simple strategy. 1. Upload your song. 2. Offer it as a free download in exchange for downloader’s email address. 3. Build your fanbase. Musicians love it because, just like SoundCloud, it allows you to control the spreading of your music while also helping you build your newsletter.

Now that you know which tools you're going to use, be sure to create a music marketing plan to put them into action: 5 Steps to Creating an Effective Music Marketing Plan."

Read the original article here.

torsdag 28. januar 2016

YouTube SEO Optimization Tips That Work Like Magic

Brandon Gaille is one of the top business bloggers in the world, and below he explains how you can optimize your YouTube video's metadata in order to get the best possible score on search engines on the web:

"Before I amaze you with my YouTube SEO tips, let me share a stat with you that will make your eyes open even wider.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and it has the least competition for eyeballs across all social platforms. To put this in contrast, here is the number of pages competing for the term “search engine marketing” on Google and YouTube.

Guess which one is easier to get a first page ranking on?

You guessed it. YouTube.

You may ask… Why aren’t more people creating videos to go after YouTube rankings? It’s a combination of a fear of looking bad on video, the unwillingness to spend a day figuring out how to create a decent video, and wanting to hide in anonymity through a web page.

What most people do not realize is that you can remain anonymous behind a slideshow or screencast, and it takes half the time to create a video as it does a blog post.

You probably already knew that, though.

So… let’s move on and begin revealing the 17 secrets to mastering YouTube SEO.

#1 Target Keyword Phrases With Over 300 Monthly Searches

When you are doing your keyword research try to aim for words that have a minimum of 300 monthly searches. Although YouTube is the second largest search engine, it pales in comparison to Google. Going after lesser searched long tailed phrases is usually a waste of time and resources.

#2 Use The Keyword Phrase Directly In The File Name

When saving the file name for your video, be sure to include the keywords separated by hyphens. This file name is read by YouTube’s algorithm, and it can increase your chances of ranking higher.

If you were trying to show up for the keyword phrase “Best SEO Techniques,” then these are some good and bad examples of file names.

Bad File Name - videotake5.mp4
Good File Name - bestseotechniques.mp4
Best File Name - Best-SEO-Techniques.mp4

#3 Know What Types Of Searches Google Automatically Uses Videos For

There are certain types of Google searches that will always pull up video results first. The two big ones are:

How to’s - “How to Surf”
Tutorials - ”Adobe Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners”
By creating videos with these keywords, you have a better chance of ranking on Google’s front page in addition to YouTube.

#4 Use Your Keyword Phrase in The Title Of Your Video

When it comes to your title, you absolutely must include the keyword. The best practice is to have the keyword phrase be at the very beginning of the title. Here are a couple of good examples:

Target Phrase = Video Marketing : “9 Video Marketing Techniques That Pull Crazy Views”
Target Phrase = Beginner SEO Tips : “7 Beginner SEO Tips to Increase Your Google Rankings”

#5 Add “Video” to Your Title To Come Up On the First Page of Google

Google’s algorithm consistently uses YouTube videos for the top results for keyword phrases that have “video” in them. Here is an example title to convey this strategy.

Title Without Video Keyword – “YouTube SEO Tutorial”
Title With Video Keyword – “YouTube SEO Tutorial Video“

By adding “video” to your titles, it can give you a consistent flow of Google traffic to all of your YouTube videos. I added “video” to my title about search engine marketing, and I have had the #2 ranking on Google for “search engine marketing video” for over three years.

#6 Create a Keyword Rich Description with Over 250 Words

Your video descriptions are just as important as your titles when it comes to YouTube SEO. It is vital to make your description at least 250 words long and include the keyword 2-4 times.

#7 Link to A Related Blog Post in the First 15 Words of the Description

Over 40% of people that watch the entire video will click on the link in the first part of the description. Here are three ways to double that number:

Create Targeted Content - A big mistake most people make is just sending them to their home page. If your video has Pinterest tips, then create a link to a list of Pinterest tools.
Use an Annotation Call to Action - Create a call to action annotation within the bottom part of the video that points to the link. For example you can write, “Click the url below to see my list of 9 Vital Pinterest Tools.”
Ask Them to Click - At the end of each video ask them to click on the link in the description to see the great related content in your blog post.

YouTube keeps track from the moment they start watching your video until they hit the back button. If viewers go to your blog post after they watch the video, then it increases the average time on video. This is another key factor in determining YouTube rankings.

If they stay on your video page longer than the competition, then you will outrank them.

#8 Deliver Value Fast To Increase Your Video’s Average View Time

If your content stinks, then it does not matter how well your video is optimized for YouTube SEO. Take your time to go one step further than the competition.

Start Strong – Tell the audience how they well benefit from watching the entire video in the first five seconds.
Deliver Value Fast – Get right into delivering the most valuable tip or piece of information within the first twenty seconds.
Eliminate Fluff – Focus on what the audience wants and needs, do not spend time discussing your opinions.

#9 Make Longer Videos To Do Better In The Rankings

Just like long form articles perform better, the same rule applies to videos on YouTube. Long videos retain viewers for a longer period of time, which increases the likelihood of then engaging, commenting, and liking that video. The majority of top ranked videos are ten to fifteen minutes long.

SocialBakers did a cross section study on the length of videos on YouTube. They found that videos that were over 10 minutes long are rarely uploaded to YouTube. Even though 1-2 minute videos had 18 times the number of uploads, the 10 minute plus videos had nearly the same amount of total views.

#10 Make Videos on Statistics to Increase Inbound Links

YouTube also weighs into account the total number of inbound links to videos within a specific channel. If one video has several quality websites linking to it, then it can boost the rankings of all the videos within your channel.

An easy way to get links is to create a video that covers key stats related to a hot topic in the news. Reporters will typically search for statistics using Google and YouTube. When they find a stat to use from your video, then they will link back to the YouTube video as the source.

#11 Create Awesome Thumbnails To Draw In A Wider Audience

The thumbnail is the image that is displayed to people before they click on your video. In essence, it is a mini banner to draw people in. Be sure to use the most colorful and vivid shot from your video to gain the biggest audience possible. Here are some key tips for YouTube thumbnails:

Make It Recognizable - Choose a thumbnail that looks sharp and stands out from the rest of the results.
Create Title Cards - Create a custom thumbnail that has an image paired with the title of the video.
Use 1280 x 780 pixels - You need a higher resolution image because the thumbnail will also be used for the preview image in the embeddable video.

#12 Use Long Tailed Keyword Variations in Your Tags

YouTube allows you to include tags to describe your video. This aids in the search process for viewers and lets YouTube know what your video is about. Put the most important keyword phrase first and use long tailed variations for the remaining tags.

For example….

Tag 1 = SEO
Tag 2 = SEO Tips
Tag 3 = SEO Techniques

#13 Use an Annotation Subscribe Button in Every Video

YouTube’s SEO algorithm also includes the amount of subscribers that you have, and how many you gain from each video. Here are a few effective ways to use an annotation subscribe button to increase your channel’s subscribers.

Midway, After Giving Great Value - At some point midway through the video, you will most likely have a piece of content that your audience really needs. This is a great spot to flash the “subscribe” annotation for about ten seconds.
Ask for the Subscribe at the End - In the last ten seconds of every video, ask them to “click the subscribe button to get more great videos like this one.” Place the button in a prominent location of the video for about 15 seconds.

#14 Create Custom Related Videos With Annotations 

All YouTube viewers are preconditioned to look at and click on the related videos that show up at the end of a video. A simple way to leverage this is to create thumbnail image annotations that link to your own videos.

Try and make it look as similar as possible to the default related videos that YouTube uses. Add an extra 20 seconds to each video that will show your custom related videos. This increases your video views and average time on video.

#15 Engage Your Audience to Increase Your Comments

Comments are another key factor in the YouTube SEO algorithm. Here are the best ways to increase the number of comments on each video.

Ask a Question at the End - Simply ask, “How did I do? Please give me some feedback in the comments.”
Offer to Answer Questions - Most people watching your video will think you are an expert on the topic. Offer to answer any questions they have in the comments section. You can take this a step further by offering a freebie to the person that asks the best question.
Respond to Comments With Questions - By asking your commentators questions, it can create a discussion that can lead to more comments and new clients.
Make a point to respond to all YouTube comments within a 24 hour period. This will keep the momentum going.

#16 Use Quora To Increase Your Video Views

Quora is a question and answer site that you can use to organically promote your video. Find the questions that your video can answer or enhance, and embed the video to be watched directly into your answer.

This will increase your total views and promote yourself as the expert at the same time.

#17 Embed Your Videos Into Your Most Visited Blog Posts

Before you create your next video, look at your analytics to identify the blog posts that get the most traffic. Identify a topic that you could cover in a video that will make your most visited blog post even better.

This will allow you to consistently create videos that add value to existing posts. In addition, each video placed on these highly trafficked posts will get new quality views every single day. YouTube will recognize this engagement and bump up the rest of the videos in that channel.

So there you have it… All seventeen YouTube SEO strategies that the pros use are now part of your YouTube arsenal. Make a plan right now to incorporate them into your video production process.

Thank you for taking the time to mentally download my YouTube SEO strategies. Please take a quick moment to share this knowledge filled post with your social contacts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest."

Read the original article: here

fredag 22. januar 2016

How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Music

Vivien Bui is a musician and writer, and she is sharing these thoughts on the Promolta Blog. Instagram has proved to be an important social channel also for music artists:

Instagram is a highly popular social media platform where users share brunch photos, travel destinations, and their cats. Although Instagram is not directly related to music production, the image sharing app is used by both fans and high profile musicians alike. The following tips are ways you can promote your band with an insta-account.

Make sure your image is relevant: If you want to publicize your newest single, don’t attach that to an Instagram picture of your breakfast. Rather, have the image showcase your album art or a picture of you recording the single in the studio. Better yet, post a short video of a snippet of the songs.

Make a hashtag: Nowadays, many extremely successful albums have a hashtag. You can even use Instagram to showcase some cool band merch. When Demi Lovato started her own skincare line, she created a hashtag for that too! Whether you’re on tour or recording a single, create a hashtag and use it. Fans will appreciate your efforts in trying to get content trending.

Use Instagram to promote your personal brand: Instagram is a great way to allow followers and fans into a snippet of your life. Record the finer things that you happen upon, things that showcase your tastes and personality, so that fans can feel as if they’re interacting with you rather than admiring from afar.

Instagram is an app used by millions of people as a personal social media account. It takes creativity to use Instagram in a way that pushes your brand and promotes your music. Take the next step with your marketing skills and use this list to guide you on your way to musical Instagram success.

If you’re interested to get your YouTube video discovered by masses of targeted fans, click this link : www.promolta.com

Read the original article here.